Trip 2017 EA
Experience Arjeplog 2017
(A few for everyday on the snowmobile.)
This day was a tiring day of travel, so not much interesting to say about it.
A long drive to Schiphol, because there were a lot of traffic jams, because there was a power disruption in Amsterdam, due to which the trains didn’t go. Flying from Schiphol to Stockholm, there we had to wait for over 4 hours for the next flight to Skellefteå. And from there a car ride of 3 hours to Arjeplog. On our way there we did see a red fox crossing the road.
We, Arina and I, left at 7:00 and were finally in our designated cabin at 23:00.
We started calmly at 10:00. It’s light by then and we had a light breakfast
Pontus was our guide this day. He was there the previous time as well and enjoyed us being there again. Joakim was there as well and was also glad to see us again. And they have a nice dog now, a brown labrador named Scott. He’s from Pontus, but is in the store and workshop all day long. He deliberately choose for a dark lab, because it stands out in the snow. According to Pontus he often only sees Scott’s 4 paws above the snow when he’s having fun rolling in it.
This day we got to ride the Ski-Doo Renegade BC 600 137". It was a day to get into it again and it went well. We also tried them out in the deep snow. It took a bit of getting used to it, after two years no snowmobiling, but it was a lot of fun. Now we’ve had some real powder snow, real pow. Pontus told us we picked it up again really quickly and even saw some improvement in comparison with last time.
We also raced across a lake quite fast. We went about 130km/h (82mi/h).
In the pitch-black, 17:00, we went for an extra trip. Up the mountain, searching for the Northern Lights. And we found it and took some nice pictures. The wind was blowing quite hard, really stormy. In the morning there was a nice layer of snow on the trees, in the afternoon is was all blown off.
For dinner we had the buffet. The temperature was around -3 deg C (26 deg F), I think.
This day we should have been leaving for a night at a ‘wilderness camp’, Vuonatjviken, where we stayed for a few nights previous time as well.
But because of the storm (snow and strong wind) that had started the day before, which became stronger in the evening and night (especially in the mountains near the camp). we knew this was postponed.
In the morning there was still a lot of snow and wind. We did go out riding anyway. That’s what we were there for! Our guide was AnnaCarin. More specific; AnnaCarin Karlsson, former European snow cross champion! (https://teamannacarin.wordpress.com/page/5/ and this is her as well: http://experiencearjeplog.se/)
We rode different snowmobiles this day. Arina on a Ski-Doo FreeRide 800 146" and me on a Ski-Doo Summit SP 600 154". We were supposed to switch after some time, but Arina had been in love with the Freeride even before the vacation and so didn’t want to switch. I didn’t mind, because it went quite nicely on that Summit in the deep snow.
Thankfully we did have some good weather as well. It was even so that in 10 minutes time and a short drive from one nice spot of deep snow to the next, it went from snow and stormy weather to calm weather and sunshine.
We played in the deep snow a lot, lots of trying to make tight turns with counter steering. Occasionally (or more like often) we tipped over, but this time we were able to get out of it ourselves quite easy. One time I really did need some help. I was tipped over and figured I could get out of it myself. It was close to an unfrozen little creek. Apparently I was closer to the creek than I first had thought, because when I tried clambering onto the snowmobile I suddenly sank a bit deeper. Still in the snow and not really in the flowing creek below it. but with my arms and legs up. In a way that I really couldn’t get out of it myself, kind of like a turtle on its back. Thankfully AnnaCarin had seen it and pulled me out and helped me with the snowmobile and I happily continued playing in the deep snow. Afterwards she said; one moment she was looking, saw me and figured I could get out of it myself, next moment I had disappeared... That’s what can happen... But it mostly was very funny.
We did some wheelies. And went into the woods. But because of the steepness in the woods and the depth (and softness) of the snow between the trees this proved to be just a bit too difficult. Each three feet we got stuck and stuck substantially, AnnaCarin often had to come help us to get out.
Again raced pretty fast, this time it was at least 140km/h (88mi/h)...
At dinner we had a delicious moose burger.
In the evening, 20:00, we wanted to go for another short tour. So we geared up (getting dressed and undressed into the full gear was quite a hassle each time, with all the layers we were wearing) and went to the store/workshop. We figured they would have it less easy saying no, than if we would show up in our regular clothes and then having to get changed. Pontus was up for it. ‘It’s not like you’re asking me to fill out tax forms, but to go riding!’ I got to ride a Polaris Switchback Assault 600 144” and Arina again on the Ski-Doo Renegade BC 600 137". It was a beautiful and challenging tour. Lots of deep snow over a trail where no-one before us had ridden and quite some bumps. It was also a really beautiful forest, an old forest, with lots of big old trees with fresh snow on the branches. And we saw two moose!
The trail we rode would normally take 3.5 hours, we did it in 2 hours. We had a pretty fast pace, about 65km/h (40mi/h) through the woods/forest. On this tour, so mostly an ungroomed trail, I liked the Switchback Assault.
Again we didn’t go to Vuonatjviken though this had been the plan, so we got up really early and were bagged and packed and ready to go, all for nothing. The reason was that a big lake that we would need to cross to get there wasn’t completely frozen yet. Locals had crossed it, but there wasn’t a validated and flagged route yet. It would have been too dangerous. Instead we would go to Jäckvikk on Saturday to spend a night up there.
So this day got filled in in another way, of course still fun. The guide for the morning was Anton. He is basically the successor of Joakim, The previous time Joakim was the one who arranged everything, especially the tours and guides, but he is now a bit more higher up in the chain, and now Anton was the one who took care of things.
We finally got to ride real deep snow machines, the Lynx Boondocker 800 3900mm/154”. Good engine with 800cc and a nice long track of 3900mm (154”), by which it all went just a bit smoother and easier in the deep snow. We tipped over less, got stuck less and got out of those situations a bit easier. And in real deep pow, we were able to practice very well on making a donut. We didn’t get to make a donut, but we did get close to it. The counter steering was a bit easier now. This also with the instructions of Anton, who in the past had been a snowmobile instructor in the military. He also took us on his snowmobile while he steered. That way you got the feeling of the balance you needed. It was wonderful to carve through the deep snow. You didn’t even need to do much. With just bending your knees and basically pushing your foot down on the running board you made a light turn. The snow was really nice and went over the skis and snowmobile. That’s how fluffy it was.
After lunch AnnaCarin guided us again. Once more a really nice tour with carving and making tight turns in the deep snow.
We also did a few nice jumps, like over a (uphill) transition from lake to woods.
For dinner we had reindeer steak. It was nice, but it was a bit at the same time a bit disappointing. Because this was the most expensive, but also very little, no fries or such.
At one point the restaurant cleared out, because the Northern lights were visible. I checked it out as well, but it wasn’t that impressive, nothing Arina and I hadn’t seen before, so I quickly went back in to eat.
Finally leaving, to Jäckvikk. With Alex. He is a friend of Anton, who was asked especially for guiding us. He previously had guided a ‘standard’ two-hour-trip, but nothing like this.
We (unfortunately) had the Renegades again. We ‘had to’ tell Alex a few times that we could go a bit faster. He was riding a bit too slow for us. Eventually we did ride in a nice fast pace. On the way we played a lot in the deep snow and it was good fun again. We also stopped at an ice fountain, where we had been last time as well, and it’s still something special and beautiful. The first 55km (34mi) we did in about 3 hours, due to all the playing. It was time to have some lunch and we preferred not to have it outside. We were close to Jäckvikk so decided to go there. I think Alex was hungry, because we did the last 11km (7mi) in under 10 minutes. The trail was made for fast riding, they were broad well groomed trails. And apparently that’s what the Renegade was made for. Alex told us during lunch that because we had told him a few times that he should go faster, he figured ‘well, I’ll show them’, but each time when he looked around, we were still hot on his tail...
The weather had been reasonably, but after lunch it got a bit less and it started snowing. We did a tour of about 60km (37mi) anyway, played in the deep snow a little and mainly raced those nice groomed trails. We went about 80km/h (50mi/h) over those trails. And a few times there were some nice bumps which resulted in nice jumps.
In the evening we had a nice meal and some good conversation with Alex.
Logically again with Alex and the Renegades and mostly in the surroundings of Jäckvikk. So we took the ‘race’-trail again and played a lot in the deep snow as well. You really notice that a longer track is much nicer in the deep snow. And we also missed the 200cc extra.
We drove up a nice mountain/hill with a super view.
To get to and from that mountain we had to cross a lake with some bad places and water on it.
After this we quickly went back to Arjeplog. Again having to cross a lake with bad ice and even some (small) places of open water, but extra throttle and you’re across fast. We played a little in the deep snow, but mostly fast over the trails back to Arjeplog, in the hope to go out after dinner for a short tour, but unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. On the way back we did see two moose again (maybe the same ones as before). They stopped and looked at us for a while. Unfortunately we were unable to make a decent picture, because it was dark already.
We had a good dinner, moose entrecote...
Between 22:00 and 23:00 we saw some great Northern Lights. It was pretty bright green, moving beautifully and there were even some orange ‘flames’.
Alas, the last day. We were supposed to get the Renegades again, but we were able to arrange to get different ones. Arina got the Summit I had been on previously and I got a Lynx Boondocker 800 3700mm/146”. I liked driving it, but the version with the longer track I liked better.
Kalle was with us. A starting guide, young guy, 19 years. Full of pride he told us he had done his first unsupervised tour the day before. So I thought to myself, ‘what are we?’ And I got the feeling he had gotten the instruction to just have fun in the deep snow and we would follow. And that’s what happened. All of us had a lot of fun in the deep snow. We also did some great jumps. We found a nice little hill each of us kept jumping over.
A little exciting moment, especially for Kalle, because when we briefly stopped, a flash of flames came out of his snowmobile. It was probably the exhaust, some unburned gasses catching fire due to the heat of the exhaust.
In those 6 days we’ve probably had all trails and routes around Arjeplog for about 3 or 4 times. We started to get to know the way and knew exactly over which bumps and hills we could make nice jumps.
I think, especially near the end of the vacation, we were more as friends to the guides, than tourists. More and more they interacted with us as they would with (not-so-good-in-riding-yet)- friends. They visibly had a lot of fun with us during our trips.
They, Anton and Pontus, even told us we should buy or own snowmobiles, get the snowmobile license (obligatory in Sweden if you are without a guide), which shouldn’t be too difficult, and we could store the snowmobiles in Arjeplog off season and were able to ride in the winter. And if we would buy the right kind of snowmobile, they would rent them from us for the rest of the season. Eventually they said; ‘ah, you could also just come guide for us.’ B-)
As souvenir, we received a nice jacket, which says Experience Arjeplog, from Joakim, and a nice buff as well. We left them a bottle of jenever (Dutch spirits) as a thank you. And Pontus came into the shop on the last day especially to say goodbye to us.
We even ended up on their facebook: https://www.facebook.com/experiencearjeplog/photos/3&theater
Tuesday 24-10 was another tiring day of travel back home.
Again 3h driving to Skellefteå, flying to Stockholm, waiting there for 5 hours, flying to Schiphol, driving to Arina and then for me another 2 hour drive back home. Got up at 5:00 and 21:30 back home and to bed.
The complete trip was a bit different than imagined, with different snowmobiles than expected and with other new (fun) guides...
But it turned out to be the best vacation ever (so far)!!
It was expensive. We had been in pain: shoulders, neck and back pains, knees shot to hell, shins black and blue and my thumbs and wrists painfully overburdened (left is even temporarily in a cast). We basically took Ibuprofen for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and also to be able to sleep better...
But, it was all worth it!
Hopefully again next year. Who knows, maybe we can arrange to get our snowmobiling license...
For those interested, after having ridden all these different snowmobiles, I think I’d like a Ski-Doo Summit 800/850 155” or a Polaris Pro RMK 155” (like we had the time before) just a bit more than everything I’ve ridden now. For the deep snow stuff, that is. The Lynx Boondocker 800 3900mm/154” comes close. So basically an 800cc with a long track.
For trail riding I’d pick the Polaris Switchback Assault, at least over the Ski-Doo Renegade.
What I also really liked was all had electric start, that way I didn’t need to pull start anytime I stopped from which 9 out of 10 times I couldn’t get it started, like the previous time. (SHOT start would be ideal for me!)
The guides mostly rode a Polaris Voyageur 600 144”, but we didn’t feel the need to try that one.
(Fun fact, the centre (store and work shop) is called the Polaris Experience Center, but I only got to ride the Polaris Switchback Assault for a short time and Arina not a Polaris at all...)